Knight Terrors Review: Something nostalgic, frustrating, and addictive

The lovechild of Flappy Bird and Ghouls n' Ghosts
Knight Terrors review

I have a weird imagination. I like to imagine a world (not unlike Wreck-it Ralph) where the characters of video game franchises of old are living out their days in a Floridian retirement village. At a certain age, these characters get to live out their days reminiscing their glory of old and playing bingo or shuffleboard. If this were a real thing, the game I am about to review for you would be the product of a May-December fling between Ghouls N’ Ghosts’  Sir Arthur and the abominable, winged beak-ball from Flappy Birds. It sounds horrific; it’s called Knight Terrors. This is our Knight Terrors review.

(If you aren’t old enough to have played Ghouls N’ Ghosts, I recommend about five minutes with it here to give you a taste of what I am about to share about Knight Terrors. I’m not sure that you’ll thank me, but it’s a piece of gaming history.)

Knight Terrors was co-developed by FREAK ZONE GAMES (AVGN, Minos) and Nicalis, Inc (Binding of Isaac) – who also published it. It is an arcade-style endless runner game with five slightly different game modes. Each gameplay mode has a similar formula:

  • Step 1: Jump over spikes.
  • Step 2: Avoid obstacles.
  • Step 3: Kill all of the monsters.
  • Step 4: Don’t die. Unless “Thou hast died.” Then repeat Steps 1 through 4.

(Spoiler alert: You will struggle with Step 4. It’s ok. This is a safe place to talk about it. I, too, have not made much progress with it.)

So, here is how it works: You play as The Knight and you have two buttons to press. One button causes you to jump. If you keep pressing it, you will keep jumping…endlessly. The other button swings your mighty sword and, if you are fortunate enough, fires one of a variety of power-ups. More on that later.

As you run along, you earn points. In some game types, these points increase your level progress. This progress will cause the game to get more difficult. In order to progress, you not only have to kill things and jump over obstacles, but you have a limited health bar and, dependent on the game mode, you can only allow two monsters to get past you… three and it’s game over, man.

Knight Terrors is punishing fun. It’s the type of difficult where you want to just play one more run to beat your last score or unlock the next power-up or game mode. Each little bit of progress makes you feel like you can make it on your next run… only to have victory violently ripped from your grasp. It’s addicting… and curse-inducing.

But fear not intrepid knight; there is a toolkit to assist in disposing of the denizens of the night!

As you play, you unlock power-ups with tongue-in-cheek names like The Stick of Returning (a boomerang) and The Throwing Axe of Despair (a literal axe… did you think The Knight was throwing emo kids?)! These power-ups can turn the tides of victory in your favor. But don’t get too comfortable with them; a single hit by an enemy or object and you are back to simple sword swinging.

Knight Terrors is a game that feels at home on the Switch because of the Switch’s  mobile appeal. It falls right in the category of a cell phone game; it’s something that you’d pick up for a few minutes, play a round, and be on your merry way. It isn’t a living-room blockbuster like a certain plucky plumber keeps producing, but at $3 USD, it’s hard to shake a hat at it… or a Stick of Returning.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to keep Bubsy away from Carmen Sandiego…

Note: Our copy was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.

COMPARE TO: Flappy Birds, Punch Quest, Ghouls N’ Ghosts

OVERALL SCORE:  8/10

PROS:

  • Captures a classic aesthetic without being lazy
  • Balances fun with challenge
  • Tongue-in-cheek humor
  • Addictive

CONS:

  • Unlocking new game types is not very rewarding
  • Quite punishing
  • Soundtrack gets a little tough to take after to third death
Written by
Born in the heyday of mullets and the El Camino to a tech-foward family, Damien (a.k.a. Dame, PastorDame) quickly embraced the reality that “normal” is just a setting on a dryer. Damien is a pastor by trade and loves talking with anyone who is interested about life, God, and video games (in no particular order) - so, much so, that he and fellow MMORPG/GameSpace writer Matt Keith (Nexfury) create a podcast dedicated to that conversation. At the end of the day, Damien is a guy who loves his wife, his Mini Schnoodle, and crafting gourmet bowls of Mac N’ Cheese.

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